THE commanding officer of a Royal Navy minehunter that destroyed a huge sea mine laid by Libyan special forces has been awarded a Distinguished Service Cross.
Lieutenant Commander Jim Byron, 39, of Farlington, was tasked to hunt out mines aboard his Portsmouth-based warship HMS Brocklesby in the port of Misrata in the warzone last year. While sweeping the seas, Brocklesby spotted a mine that had been laid by pro-regime special forces in a bid to disrupt any outside help.
Using the specialist underwater explosives robot, Seafox, the ship’s company detonated the device – which was packed with explosives to the equivalent of 190 kilos of TNT.
‘It was enough explosive to completely wipe out anything that came into contact with it,’ said Lt Cdr Byron.
He added: ‘There is no doubt that was placed there to deliberately stop anyone from bringing help into the country.’
Lt Cdr Byron dedicated his award to his ship’s company.